Wednesday 19 August 2009

Ciudad Condal, Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona

In a prominent corner position on the huge junction where Rambla de Catalunya crosses Gran Via de l'es Cortis Catalanes, Ciudad Condal is an upmarket and bustling tapas bar. As you walk in, your eyes are drawn to the smart refrigerated counters displaying dozens of plates heaped with a mix of tempting ready-made canapes and very fresh ingredients. If you can, try and get a table near the front, which has more daylight and atmosphere than the tables further in or upstairs. Most of the furniture, fixtures and fittings seem to be made from the same warm brown wood, but bizarrely, the back wall is lined with illuminated Coke and Sprite bottles.

A fine combination of flavours
You can only eat tapas at Ciudad Condal, but you can eat very well. Among the many delicious bites are peppers stuffed with tuna (1.3 euros each) and crab and prawn meat served on bread (also 1.3 euros). Larger options include the warm and succulent tortilla (3.8 euros) laced with spinach and the very fresh prawn and crab stick salad. But a real standout dish is the tomato, pepper, anchovies and olives on toast - a fine combination of flavours. Among the deserts, the warm chocolate pudding soaked in a rich chocolate sauce is lovely, but small for almost 5 euros. The whisky pudding with cream is more substantial, but a tad alcoholic, while you can get a single scoop of Haagen-Dazs ice cream for 1.60 euros. The Spanish beer is good value for 2.40 euros for a 33cl glass, but there is also a very wide array of more pricey foreign beers. The staff can be slightly eccentric, but are very friendly, even to tourists. 8/10